Crime pays across Europe. Now the Commission has proposed a toughening up of rules to stamp out the huge profits from criminal activity across member states borders.
The proposal is aimed at simplifying existing rules and filling important gaps which are exploited by organised crime.
Allowing the confiscation of assets where a criminal conviction is not possible because a suspect is dead, ill or has fled and ensuring prosecutors can temporarily freeze assets that risk disappearing if no action is taken, are two of the measures which have been put forward.
“The Italian Mafia used to invest quite a lot in houses in the Riviera and in Spain for instance. You also have organised gangs on motorcycles who operate more in the North of Europe, and they move quite freely over the borders in Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands and Germany. With more similar systems it is easier for the police to follow the money that they invest in different assets, houses or restaurants,” explained
Cecilia Malmström, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs.
The Commission wants each country to have criminal assets bureaus which are already operating in some member states to act as a focal point the crackdown on criminal profits.
Figures from six years ago for the UK estimate revenue from organised crime topped 15 billion euros of which 125 million were recovered by the state.